June 2007 - Beachwood, Ohio - Pet owners care deeply about their canine or feline friend, and spend sizeable chunks of time and cash of nutrition, exercise, furnishings and toys for their pet. But have they thought through the financial responsibility of owning a pet? Probably not, according to Laura Bennett, a leading pet life and health actuary who recently started Embrace Pet Insurance to make it possible for more pet owners to get flexible, affordable dog insurance and cat insurance that delivers on its promises.
"We researched what pet owners need from an insurance policy and then designed our entire company around those needs," says Bennett, who counts Barnes and Lily, her two cats among her family members. "What we offer is pet health insurance that functions more like human health insurance in terms of breadth of coverage but allows you to go to any veterinarian, and that gives pet owners what they expect from insurance - reliable coverage that pays."
Bennett has published much of her research on the Embrace Pet Health Insurance website, a destination for pet owners who want to learn about pet insurance, and on her pet insurance blog, where she muses on the pet industry. Bennett also answers pet health and insurance questions from pet owners on her "Ask Laura" website.
Here are some of the most important pet insurance questions that pet owners often ask, and Bennett's answers.
When is the best time to buy pet insurance for my dog or cat?
Laura Bennett: "The best time to buy pet insurance is when your pet is younger but it is not the only time. The younger your pet is when enrolled, the less chance there is of a pre-existing condition preventing your pet from getting full coverage. But just because your pet isn't a puppy or kitten any more doesn't mean you can't get pet insurance. Even if your pet has a pre-existing condition there's still a good chance you can get pet insurance although the company may require a statement from your veterinarian stating that a particular condition is cured."
Can I get pet insurance for a senior dog or cat?
Laura Bennett: "Pet insurance companies will usually issue a new policy to pets up to 8 or 10 years old, sometimes older if your pet undergoes a medical. You may also have to provide annual medical reports to keep your pet insured. Your premium might be higher than that of a younger pet, and some pre-existing conditions may be excluded. The best thing is to enroll your pet when she's young and healthy and avoid pre-existing conditions."
My pet is well now and I look after her. Do I really need to buy pet insurance?
Laura Bennett: "This is precisely when you should buy pet insurance, right when your pet is well and has no pre-existing conditions. If you wait until after your pet becomes sick, you are too late to cover that sickness. No matter how well your pet is today, there is always a chance that your pet will get sick or injured, which is when you actually need protection."
Can I get coverage for routine care such as vaccinations and spaying/neutering?
Laura Bennett: "It's important to consider what insurance is for: to protect you against unknown conditions that come without warning and can have a serious impact on your family finances. That's when pet insurance has the most positive impact. You can plan for routine care costs and we recommend pet parents put aside money to cover these expenses, not buy insurance to cover them. We opted to focus on pet insurance for expensive, unpredictable situations that average people cannot easily afford."
About Embrace Pet Insurance
Embrace Pet Insurance Agency LLC is a specialist insurance agency headquartered in Beachwood, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Embrace was founded by Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik, pet parents who also happen to be insurance experts, and offers self-serve, customizable pet health insurance for dogs, cats and goldfish. The Embrace culture is based on the core values of innovation and not taking oneself too seriously. On the web at Embrace Pet Insurance.
About the North American Pet Health Insurance Association
Embrace is a member of the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). Founded in 2007, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association is committed to educating and promoting the values and benefits of quality pet health insurance to North American pet owners, the general public, and the veterinary community. As an association, it is committed to high standards and transparency in all of our actions and products. To learn more, visit www.naphia.org.